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Fashion design retreat

Retreat with a Fashion Designer in Florence

In this month’s blog, we want to introduce you to our fabulous new Retreat with a Fashion Designer in Florence. If you have an eye for fashion, or have always dreamt of trying your hand at design, this new retreat is for you. Learn at the heel of our artisan footwear designer and shoemaker, design and make your own shirt, work with leather, or turn your nose to perfume making!

Why Florence?

The city of Florence is steeped in fashion. Some may lazily assume the well-trodden circuit of New York, Paris, London and Milan are the main centres of fashion, but it is Florence which is home to Pucci, Cavalli and Gucci to name but a few.

As far back as the late 19th and early 20th century, Florence became known for its high quality leather footwear and accessories. Designers soon flocked to the city ensuring Florence was soon known as an integral part of the fashion industry in Italy.

If we look at shoemaking, the designer Salvatore Ferragamo became known for his innovative footwear designs while based in Florence in the 1930s. In fact some say Ferragamo was the first to invent what became known as the platform shoe, when in 1938 he designed the Rainbow sandal in tribute to Judy Garland after her iconic role in the Wizard of Oz.

Today’s Florence is still home to many fashion houses, design schools and artisan workshops.

“Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well” – Vivienne Westwood

Whether you are new to shoemaking, or perhaps someone who makes their own clothes as a hobby, the experience of creating and designing an accessory or piece of clothing can be incredibly fulfilling. Fashion is a way to express ourselves, who we are, where we come from and how we feel. Therefore the act of creating clothing, footwear or accessories can be a liberating form of expression.

The late great Dame Vivienne Westwood believed that items should be made to last, created in a sustainable way and worn over and over. Our Retreat with a Fashion Designer will introduce you to materials which are sustainably sourced, allowing the opportunity to use your hands to produce timeless pieces using authentic artisan methods.

Don’t forget the pleasure that can be gained by taking part in a creative activity with other people. Designing and creating side-by-side is an important part of the process. How often in our daily lives are we given the opportunity to learn from others face-to-face or in real life? The benefits of learning IRL instead of during a zoom call are immeasurable. As human beings, we blossom when we are able to spend time in the company of others to form new bonds and friendships. These activities are truly life-enhancing.

The Retreat

Spend a week in a historic city-centre residence in beautiful Florence. You will visit artisan workshops, a famous design school and learn how to design and make your own shirt. Learn how to take measurements, the design process, how to cut fabric, and the tools used by expert artisans!

Learn at the side of a renowned local shoemaker who will share with you the history and methods used to make bespoke footwear.

Visit a silk factory, a master perfumer, and a leather workshop where you will learn to make a leather accessory. Imagine using your hands to create a one-of-a-kind piece in an authentic designer’s workshop.

The retreat includes:

  • 6 days with our artisan shoemaker
  • Visit to a leather school where you will make a leather accessory
  • 2 hours of workshop with our expert perfume maker, instructing you in how to create your own fragrance!
  • Visit the most important hat, silk and shoe workshops and learn about the design process

We pride ourselves in providing unique, memorable and sustainable experiences. In order to guarantee your place, below you can view our retreat dates and booking deadlines:

Starting dates and Deadline for applications:

27th of March 2023:
deadline for applications 20th of February 2023
8th of May 2023:
deadline for applications 20th of March 2023
19th of June 2023:
deadline for applications 5th of May 2023
10th of July 2023:
deadline for applications 25th of May 2023
25th of September 2023 :
deadline for applications 10th of August 2023
2nd of October 2023:
deadline for applications 25th of August 2023
6th of November 2023:
deadline for applications 25th of September 2023

It’s time to put your best foot forward and contact us today for your Retreat with a Fashion Designer!



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